How Did Pickleball Get Its Name (2022)? Pickleball History and Facts

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Pickleball History and Facts New [2023]

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Fun Facts: Want to know how did pickleball get its name? Learn all about one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, inside this in-depth article on the history and facts of the game of pickleball.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that is an amalgam of different sports such as ping-pong, tennis, and badminton and uses a paddle plastic ball with holes. Players of all ages and skill levels can enjoy this game because it is easy to learn and play.

Over the past few years, Pickleball has gained huge popularity in fact; it is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. But how did Pickleball get its name and what are the facts behind it? To get the answer to this mystery, continue reading.

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name Explained?

Pickleball”, may sound funny when you hear it for the first time. People ask we have nothing to do with pickles while playing, them why the name is Pickleball?  The proper answer to the question, “how did Pickleball get its name” has never been confirmed because two different stories are narrated by the founders of the game. The first story is related to a dog while the one is based on a pickle boat. Both stories have been used in different interviews but the real inspiration behind the name of the Pickleball is still not sure!

Let’s dive to know more about the story behind the name of the sport called Pickleball.

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name (2022)? Pickleball History and Facts.
How Did Pickleball Get Its Name (2022)? Pickleball History and Facts

Story 1: Pickles the Dog

The story about the dog pickles started back in 1965 when the daughter of Joel Pritchard adopted a cockapoo puppy from her neighborhood and she named her dog “pickles”.  Once, on a typical bad weather day, the kids were driving their adults crazy and asking for some sort of games to play. Joel Pritchard found shattered paddles and plastic balls, he asked the kids to play with them.

The children were playing with those paddles and plastic balls on the badminton court when pickles came there and started playing with the kids. In a short time, the pickles developed a habit to pick the plastic waffle ball with its mouth and run away with the ball on the court. The pickles used to play like this whenever the kids were playing with paddles and waffle balls.

Hence, the brown family named the game “Pickleball” in tribute to their adorable dog. The Barny McCallum family was the very first players of the Pickleball game. They stated in an interview that the game was definitely named after the dog. They also said that they cheered up with excitement when they decided on this funny name for the game.

Story 2: The Pickle Boat

Later on, the Pritchard family totally disagreed with their dog’s story and narrated another argument that exposed how did Pickleball get its name?

According to the family, Joan, who was Joel’s wife, was a competitive rower on Bainbridge island- a sleepy island famous for its boating culture had a pickle boat. Once she took part in rowing and she was the last one who finished the race. So, basically, the pickle boat was one that could not win the race.

This pickle boat was made up of the leftover oarsmen from the other teams similarly the Pickleball was invented from the leftovers of other sports. So, Joan named the game Pickleball because it reminded her of a pickle boat.

Out of these stories, the dog’s version is narrated by both Joan Pritchard and his daughter Peggy Pritchard while the other is stated by Joan Pritchard. Barny McCallum, one of the inventors of Pickleball also stated that the game was named after the dog. So, it is hard to decide what is the exact inspirational story behind that fact, how did Pickleball get its name?

Pickleball History And Facts How Pickleball Came To Exist?
Pickleball History And Facts How Pickleball Came To Exist?

History of Pickleball

Unlike other sports, Pickleball has a quite unique history! In 1965, it was a typical hot summer day! Two dads Joel Pritchard- a Congressman from Washington state, and Bill Bell- a successful businessman, returned to Pritchard’s house in Bainbridge Island after playing golf.

After spending some time at Pritchard’s house, they found that their families and kids are getting bored. They decided to find something exciting but turned out only with shattered paddles and roasted waffle balls. The Pritchard’s house had an old badminton court; both families started playing there with paddles and waffle balls. At first, they placed the net at a badminton height of 60 inches and tried to volley the ball over the net later the net was lowered to 36 inches.

The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game of pickle ball by Bell and Pritchard at the Pritchard’s house. The three men decided to set some rules for the game relying heavily on the badminton game. The original purpose was kept in mind while deciding the rule for the game which was to provide a game that the entire family could play together. In this way, from the leftovers of different sports, a brand-new game was born today which is known as “Pickleball“.

The First Pickleball Court

In 1967, the first permanent Pickleball court was constructed by Pritchard in the backyard of Bob O’Brian, who was the neighbor and close family friend of Pritchard. The construction of a permanent court turned out very helpful because this homemade game was turned into a loveable pastime.

The Pickleball Corporation

 A few years later in 1972, when the game started to gain steam in the Pacific Northwest, a corporation was formed to help interested people buy equipment and protect the creation of this new sport. This corporation helped people to find the right equipment to play this game such as nets, balls, and paddles. This Pickleball Corporation struggled a lot and helped to transition the game from a local pastime to a legitimate sport.

In 1975, the National Observer published an article about Pickleball with the title “America’s newest racquet sport”, which helped this game to get more popularity. In 1978, a book named, “The Other Racquet Sports” was published that contained in-depth information about Pickleball.

The First Pickleball Tournament

In 1976, the first known Pickleball tournament was held at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington, and David Leaster won the game. After this, people started playing and organizing tournaments in Washington state.

The United State Amateur Pickleball Association (U.S.A.P.A)

In 1984, the United State Amateur Pickleball Association (U.S.A.P.A) was organized that decided to introduce the game on a national level. They set some rules and regulations to perpetuate the growth and advancement of Pickleball and published their first rulebook in March 1984.

Sid Williams was the first president of the United State Amateur Pickleball Association, who provided his services from 1984 to 1998. Then Frank Candelario held the charges of U.S.A.P.A who kept things going until 2004. 

Later in November 2009, the first U.S.A.P.A National Tournament was held in Buckeye, Arizona in which players of all ages were allowed to participate. It was continued for 6 days and more than 400 players from 26 states took part in this tournament.

Facts about Pickleball

  • The Sport Of Pickleball Is An Indoor As Well As Outdoor Game

Unlike several sports, Pickleball can be enjoyed indoors as well as outdoor. You just need a court, a wiffle ball, and a pickleball paddle to enjoy this amazing game. Both indoor and outdoor ways of playing have some pros and cons. For example, the indoor courts allow you to enjoy the game whatever the weather is. Just be sure to invest in some good pickleball paddles;) that will last you for years.

  • A Wallet-Friendly Game

Pickleball is a wallet-friendly game to play. When it was started, the equipment was gathered from the leftovers of other sports. Pickleball has no official uniform or dress code to play or compete in.

  • No Use of Pickles

 Regardless of the name Pickleball, the players have to do nothing with pickles while playing this game.

  • A Part of Physical education

Pickleball is taught and played in schools and colleges in the United States as a part of physical education.

  • The Fastest-Growing Sport

More than 3 million people in the United States are pickleball players and love to play Pickleball regularly.

Pickleball Fact: This number has been growing by 10% each year and it seems this number will just keep growing as time goes on as more and more people take up pickleball.

  • Places 2 Play

A “Places 2 Play” feature is created by the USA Pickleball Association (U.S.A.P.A), which allows people to find a location to practice Pickleball.

  • Can Be Adapted for Wheelchair Users

The Pickleball can be adapted for wheelchair users or the person having other disabilities. The U.S.A.P.A provides a complete rulebook for wheelchair Picklers (a person who is obsessed with Pickleball).

  • The “Double Bounce Rule”

The double bounce rule plays is the key feature that helps Pickleball to gain huge popularity worldwide. This rule states that the ball must bounce on both the serve before volleying can begin.

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name Pickleball Facts And My Final Conclusion On This Fast-Growing Sport

Pickleball is the fastest-growing game in the United States with a funny name that has gained a lot of popularity in the last few decades. The two different stories are associated with the fact, of how did Pickleball get its name, but no one is sure about the exact inspirational story behind this name of Pickleball. This game was started in the backyard of Bob O’Brian in 1965 and now the whole world is enjoying this game.

I hope I answered your question thoroughly on how did pickleball get its name.

Congratulations, you now know the history of the sport of pickleball.


Let’s get you looking great on the pickleball court.

Here is another helpful article on the best pickleball shoes so you can look great and perform at your peak performance on the pickleball court.

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